How can communities recover from violence?

Late last year, G. Jeffrey MacDonald, who has been a correspondent for The Christian Science Monitor for 15 years, was the guest on the Sentinel chat “How can communities recover from violence?” MacDonald wrote the cover story for the Monitor’s coverage of the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. He also covered the Boston Marathon bombing for USA Today. For the Newtown story, he received the 2014 Wilbur Award for Excellence in Reporting on Religious Issues. He is an ordained pastor in the United Church of Christ and brings his spirituality to bear in working on such articles. The following has been edited for publication. To hear the whole chat go to

As part of the introduction to the chat, MacDonald talked a bit about his work for the Monitor and the Newtown story specifically.

Right after the shooting at the elementary school in Newtown, the community was overwhelmed by the media. The Newtown United Methodist Church is located at the entrance to Sandy Hook, so the media were everywhere around the church. The pastor and others at the church felt they had to push back against the crush of press, so they called in a media consultant from the United Methodist Church. Their consultant knows me and offered me exclusive access to this faith community. I said I’d like to do the story for the Monitor, because the Monitor would handle it with the care and sensitivity that it deserved.

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Spiritual perspective on the World Cup
June 9, 2014

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